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Thread: WIP- Vhode Icelands

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    Guild Novice GlassSphere's Avatar
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    Post WIP- Vhode Icelands

    Heya, this is my first attempt at making any city-structure in my maps. It's also my first attempt experimenting with a new really neat way of making a snow/glacial texture. Everything here is photoshop, no outside brushes or textures used.

    I'm unsure about the shadows on the mountains, (also a just experimented method). I also wonder if scale of the fort with the mountains/ice peaks kinda looks strange, or does it simply modify how big you picture the mountains?

    I'm not really experienced with naming things or the text for maps.
    Any feedback is welcome.
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    Very pretty.

    It looks very 3d. I don't know that I'd like to be a Sailor on 'Piles Bay" though.


    Sigurd

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    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Ooooooo! Very pretty! My first thought is that this is from a video game or something. Kind of like a WarCraft 2 map or something like that. The snow texture is spot on. And dude, the underwater ice flows are just sweet!

    One think I am and not a big fan of is the "rigidness" of your mountain tops. Of course, this is a personal preference, but there is very little variation or breaks in the ridgeline which might indicate peaks, dips and grooves, ie height, slope, and directional differences. What did you make this map in? I assume you used GIMP/PS and ran the mountains through a bump map filter?

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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    Guild Novice GlassSphere's Avatar
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    Heh I see what you mean, it kinda does look like WC2.

    I made it in PS, no bump mapping, I used a process similar to the "not so random coastlines" only it was completely random, and I heavily used layer style options (bevel, outer glow, inner glow, bevel texture- the thing your probably thinking was the bump map)

    My main problem with this method is exactly what you said. I'm still trying to figure out how to get varied slope angles, mountain heights, and more realistic grooves. I was hoping I could find a method that didn't involve any painting, just a bunch of filters or anything that could be rolled up into a quick 'action'.
    It's seeming more and more that it will be impossible to get any more realistic mountains without adding a whole new method of making them.

    Actually I jsut realized what I left out. Around the bases of every mountain I discovered if I put another mountain layer surrounding it, and softened the bevel a lot, tweaking alotof other settings too it would look like hills, and hills would blend into the plains. mountains and plains do stand out funky.

    But still that won't really give any true varation in the mountains.

  5. #5
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassSphere View Post
    Heh I see what you mean, it kinda does look like WC2.
    Heh... I want to throw down some orcs and start building up my farms and structures so I can get the dragons out.....

    Quote Originally Posted by GlassSphere View Post
    I made it in PS, no bump mapping, I used a process similar to the "not so random coastlines" only it was completely random, and I heavily used layer style options (bevel, outer glow, inner glow, bevel texture- the thing your probably thinking was the bump map)

    My main problem with this method is exactly what you said. I'm still trying to figure out how to get varied slope angles, mountain heights, and more realistic grooves. I was hoping I could find a method that didn't involve any painting, just a bunch of filters or anything that could be rolled up into a quick 'action'.
    It's seeming more and more that it will be impossible to get any more realistic mountains without adding a whole new method of making them.

    Actually I jsut realized what I left out. Around the bases of every mountain I discovered if I put another mountain layer surrounding it, and softened the bevel a lot, tweaking alotof other settings too it would look like hills, and hills would blend into the plains. mountains and plains do stand out funky.

    But still that won't really give any true varation in the mountains.
    One thing I have been playing with a lot in the past several days is using the burn/dodge tool on opposite sides of the "mountain" burn for the light side and dodge for the darn side using a very small fuzzy brush. Then use the smudge tool (and this is the key for me!) to lightly blur stuff around, including folding and creasing the ridge line to make it less uniformly straight. Then I add my bump map to itself and this produces some really goo effects. Additionally, the smudge tool works pretty well at breaking the hard lines where the mountains hit the regular ground at the end of the process. You get a lot more control than if you used a blur on the whole object, or even if you select, reverse selection, Noise spread, and then blur (and I have been doing to get the blending effect.)

    I will say, it takes quite a bit of playing with this to get it looking good, so it's much more art than science, but I think it's worth it. Another key thing is to vary your brush strokes A LOT. All different directions with the smudge tool. Dark side of the mountain to "draw" some of the dark into the light and light side to draw some light into the darks with various angles and even different brush sizes. Basically, if you smudge from the top of the mountain down, the ridge line will soften at the point and appear to move somewhat depending on what brush you used, smaller is usually better though.

    Anyway, give that a try and see if you can make that help. For me, even using the smudge tool helps out quite a bit, but you can play with the burn/dodge also if you like.

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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    Guild Novice GlassSphere's Avatar
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    Well heres What I've done so far, I attempted to do the smudging thing on the mountains, It looks alright but it still didn't give it much definition. I realized something that would bring it out more is to smudge the mask of the hill/shorter mountain layer that I added around the mountains, and that turned out really well. I also adjusted the colors of the mountains to be more realistic. One problem I have, I wanted to make a cave entrance (the shard halls) on the side of a mountain, I did what I thought it would look like but it still didnt pop up, so I added a little glow to it. does that help make it obvious, or does it make you think "whats that little glowy thing there?"

    Really funny thing that did happen, is I applied the effects I had on the little cave entrance on the light snowy road layer I had (I was thinking maybe to get the road layer in front to also glow) And when I zoomed out I realized "oh yea, all my snow roads are on this layer" but to my surprise, they looked awesome, like strange ice-vein structures. I knew I had to add that somewhere else after taking the effect off the roads. So I did. But the way I made it, they kidna could pass more for little streams than ice veins.

    Thanks for your comments.
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  7. #7
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassSphere View Post
    Well heres What I've done so far, I attempted to do the smudging thing on the mountains, It looks alright but it still didn't give it much definition.
    This is where using a Bump map with the layer itself comes into play. The smudges get turned into "wrinkles" which simulates various rocky outcrops on a mountain. Also, using the dodge/burn (or even just a pencil with opposite colors) and then using the smudge tool to soften these hard lines and then using the bump map really makes for a nice effect once you get the settings dialed in correctly(which can take a while I will admit).


    Quote Originally Posted by GlassSphere View Post
    I realized something that would bring it out more is to smudge the mask of the hill/shorter mountain layer that I added around the mountains, and that turned out really well. I also adjusted the colors of the mountains to be more realistic.
    I LOVE the mountains now for the most part. The blending with the terrain is great! They really seem to fade into the underlying snow ground cover. The only thing you might have to worry about is "white flare" where your white is so smooth that no underlying texture can be seen. This is especially the case on the south east side of the Frozen Crater bowl and a few other places. This is where a tiny bit of manual "painting" with a darker color in random directions and smudging can give you some texture definition back to the area without making it look to fake.


    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  8. #8
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Opps... now that I look at it a bit closer, I see a lot of gaps where you sat the original mountains on top of the new mountain bases. In some places, it looks like the original mountains are floating on top instead of being blended into the underlying mountain base. Again, using the smudge tool very carefully with a smallish brush and zoomed in will do a lot to make that transition less obvious. In a few places, there is a solid patch under the mountains of light blue that has no snow folders or any other texture on it and some hard lines where they meet so you may want to take a look at that also. The north-north west side of the seperate mountains between Frozen Crater and the bay is a good example. Still, over all, I love this map. BTW, what DPI is this done in? If this is high enough PPI resolution, this would make an excellent VTT region map due to the beauty of the landscape and colors you have used.

    Joe

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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  10. #10
    Guild Novice GlassSphere's Avatar
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    It's done in 72 ppi
    Then again I'm not that concerned because this is really more for testing the methods, because now in the future with the techniques that I've learned... We make it better than it was before.
    Better.
    Stronger.
    Faster.
    er...


    anyways, Yea, I refined the details alot. I smudged any remaining hard-lined mountainside, I erased most of the 'splatter' rock formations that weren't a mountain shape. (those were not intentional, it's part of the random creation of the mountains.)

    But yea,, I'd like to try to make a map for VTT.
    err...by the way....
    what is VTT?
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